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In ‘Candy’ Melanie Lynskey Flawlessly Morphs Into Betty Gore, Says She Relates To Her


If you’re a true crime fan, you’ll want to add Hulu’s Candy to your must-binge list. This is the story of Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore, two suburban housewives and mothers in Texas who got caught up in a deadly love triangle.

The five-part limited series stars Jessica Biel (The Sinner) as Candy and Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets) as Betty and both give award-worthy performances. The entire cast is fantastic, including Pablo Schreiber as Betty’s husband Allan Gore, Timothy Simons as Candy’s husband Pat Montgomery and Raúl Esparza as Candy’s lawyer and fellow churchgoer, Don Crowder.

Candy and Betty originally met in church and both sang in the same choir. Candy was a housewife and Betty had worked as a school teacher. Though opposites in many ways, they formed a relationship of sorts, though they were more frenemies than friends.

The story centers around what happened on Friday, June 13, 1980, when Candy stopped by Betty’s home for what was to be a quick visit. She had a long list of errands to run that day. Candy was set to pick up a swimsuit for Betty’s daughter who was spending the day with her and her children. The visit took a dark and bloody turn when, as Candy claims, Betty confronted her about an affair she had with her husband, Allan. A fight involving an ax followed. When it comes to who yielded the ax first, we only know Candy’s side of the story. Betty’s chopped-up body was discovered that night by neighbors in a blood-soaked utility room.

Roughly 13 days after the murder, Candy turned herself into the local sheriff’s department and was held under a $100,000 bond. Four months later there was a trial. Candy claimed that it was self-defense and that it was Betty who first grabbed the ax from the garage and approached her with it. Her lawyer brought a Houston psychiatrist in as a witness who explained that Candy suffered from a dissociative reaction and wasn’t aware of how many times she struck Betty with that ax. A jury acquitted her of murder charges on Oct. 29, 1980, despite the fact there were 41 chop wounds on Betty’s body, 4o of which occurred while her heart was still beating.

In a recent interview, Lynskey explained that upon first reading the script, she had an immediate understanding of Betty. “I related to her very deeply because I’m somebody who has social anxiety and who is a naturally shy person. I don’t have an easy time in social settings and I don’t think Betty did either.”

She was also able to tap into Betty’s overall emotional state. “I think at that point in her life she was just deeply lonely. She was very overwhelmed and didn’t have a ton of support. She’s in a marriage that she just feels she should be grateful for because she is married. But he’s not really helping and I just feel she’s leading a very lonely existence.”

Candy was an outgoing, lively, popular perfectionist counter to Betty’s introverted, isolated and shy nature. But the two had more in common than either realized. Each was struggling in their marriages and felt unhappy in their lives.

Unfortunately, Candy’s boredom in her marriage led her to try to spice things up by having an affair with Betty’s husband. She was discreet regarding the affair to a point but she also liked to talk about her new lover to friends. Did Betty find out? According to Candy’s account, yes, and this was the catalyst to that deadly fight.

When asked her thoughts on what happened that day more than four decades ago, Lynskey explains it would be almost impossible to talk about it without any level of bias. “The thing that I think is so wonderful about the script is that it leaves you sort of leaning in both directions. For me, because I was inhabiting the soul of this person who doesn’t have a voice, who isn’t here anymore, I had a visceral reaction when we were shooting the fight scene because I was like, ‘No, no, no,’ but I had to give myself over to the version we were telling, which was Candy’s story. For me, the tragedy of the story is that only one person in the world knows what really happened.”

Hulu is killing it (pun intended) with a slate of gripping true-crime series and viewers cannot get enough. With Candy, the streamer is doing things a little differently by premiering one episode of the five-part series per day for a five-night event starting Monday, May 9 and culminating on Friday, May 13.

The story itself is fascinating but credit has to also go out to the creators and showrunners Robin Veith (Mad Men, The Act) and Nick Antosca (The Act, Brand New Cherry Flavor) for their brilliant telling. Veith wrote the pilot and executive produced alongside Antosca under his banner Eat the Cat along with Alex Hedlund. Biel and Michelle Purple (The Sinner, Cruel Summer) also executive produced for Iron Ocean. Michael Uppendahl (Fargo, American Crime Story: Impeachment) directed the pilot and executive produced with Jim Atkinson and John Bloom serving as consulting producers.

In addition to Hulu’s Candy, HBO Max is also premiering its version of the story later this year with a limited series entitled Love and Death starring Elizabeth Olsen, Lily Rabe and Jesse Plemons.

There are so many questions that remain unanswered 42 years later. Many are curious about Candy’s current whereabouts which further adds to the mystery. Following the trial, Candy moved out of state, some believe to Georgia, where she still lives and according to various reports, she works in the mental health field.



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